As Commencement approaches, graduating seniors are faced with important decisions about career paths and living situations – and post-Commencement brunch.
After a long morning of pomp and circumstance, you’ll be ready for a hearty brunch, and family members will be on the verge of hangry, so options just off the National Mall or a short Metro ride away are your best bet. Here are a few options nearby to feed the family and celebrate.
If you somehow avoided taking your parents to Jose Andres’ staple restaurants around D.C. during earlier visits, China Chilcano is the place to go.
Located in Penn Quarter, China Chilcano is at a prime location, just a 10-minute walk from the ceremony. On the way, family members can stop in the National Gallery of Art or admire the Navy Memorial on the move.
China Chilcano connects two unlikely cuisines: Peruvian and Chinese. Though the menu is eclectic, there are options for even the pickiest eaters with items ranging from anticuchos – Peruvian meat skewers – to ceviche and dim sum.
For the table, celebrate graduation with a half-liter of chica punch ($30) with vodka, red wine, triple sec and chicha morada – a Peruvian beverage made of purple corn. For something more familiar, opt for a Perú libre with rum, Mexican Coke, vanilla and lime ($12) or a D.C. Brau Citizen draft beer ($8) to sip on after your parents’ toast to you.
Start your meal with small bites like yucca fries ($9) or a chicken thigh anticucho ($5) that are simple enough for fussy younger siblings. Foodie parents will be impressed with an order of sánguche de pescado – a fried lotus bun with catfish and salsa topped with unexpected rocoto-ponzu mayo ($5).
If you’re craving something sweet, get the dorayaki ($11) – quinoa pancakes filled with sweet potato and topped with pecan butter and spiced maple syrup. Otherwise, go for the futomaki roll ($12), a jumbo sushi roll containing an omelet with shitake mushrooms, or the ceviche Nikkei ($19) to upgrade from years of brunches at GWorld restaurants.
China Chilcano is located at 418 7th St. NW. Brunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Avoid the Commencement crowds that will be closer to campus and enjoy waterfront views with a side of pasta at Osteria Morini, a brunch spot along the Anacostia River.
After cutting through the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and into the L’Enfant Plaza Metro, hop off at the Navy Yard Metro for a 12-minute ride and two block walk to the restaurant.
You and your family can sit outside under bright orange umbrellas, or enjoy the atmosphere from inside through the restaurant’s large glass windows. The ample amount of seating both indoors and outdoors makes it perfect for a family gathering.
The restaurant offers a la carte options and brunch specials, like a two-course ($30) or three-course ($34) brunch. The two-course brunch consists of an appetizer with pasta, a sandwich or an entree, while the three-course option adds a dessert.
The wide-ranging menu includes pastries like an orange blossom cinnamon roll ($5), paninis and pasta, so you can overload on carbs to make up for calories burned standing in line at graduation.
Continue your carb cravings and scarf down house-made pasta, like the cappelletti ($25) with truffled ricotta, melted butter and prosciutto, that is a step up from meals you cooked in your residence hall. Or try something more unique with Osteria Morini’s campanelle nero ($24), a squid ink pasta with shrimp, scallops and chile.
Treat yourself for surviving school with ricotta pancakes ($17) topped with maple mascarpone and blueberry jam – a classy take on your mom’s best breakfast.
Osteria Morini is located at 301 Water St. SE Suite 109. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Cava Mezze’s all-you-can-eat brunch must be ordered by the entire party, but it’s well worth it. If your family isn’t down, don’t worry – the entire brunch menu is also available a la carte.
Just steps away from the Eastern Market Metro stop, a trip to Cava Mezze will take 10 minutes from L’Enfant Plaza Station after your morning on the National Mall. After you clear your plates, you’ll be in the perfect location to walk off your full stomach exploring Eastern Market or the Capitol Building.
For just $35, you get a Mediterranean brunch with a flare. Each dish comes with a twist, like the chicken and waffle ($10) with pomegranate honey, feta and scallions, or the gyro hashbrown ($8) topped with feta, yogurt, tomatoes and onions.
This spot also has more classic dishes for family members that like to play it safe, like the challah french toast with berries and cream, eggs benedict and shrimp and grits. Plus, if you order the bottomless brunch, you can gulp down 25-cent bloody marys or sangria at just $4 a glass.
Enjoy your feast either indoors – where Cava Mezze has long tables perfect for larger groups visiting town – but if the weather prevails, you can head upstairs to the rooftop patio to dine.
Cava Mezze is located at 527 8th St. SE. Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.